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Thread: Lely vs. DeLaval VMS

  1. #21
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    Thanks for the input it seems like things are going very well in your set-up
    I did a little google and found the research it on Milkproduction.com, very interresting... Looks to me like all the robots have some things they really excel in and they all have some they could improve.

    We set our Lely to double brush which takes a little longer but I think we gain it back in the milk speed as well as have a better teat prep. Lely has also added some features since the a3 (in the study) to speed up the milking such as vacuum and pulsation depends on milk speed. (I'm sure Delaval has added new features also)

    Boils down to an excellent dealer and farm manager to make things really click.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdiederich View Post
    Essentially. If the holding area is full, the cow is diverted away from the robot so that she doesn't get stuck standing in the commitment pen too long. It really isn't much of an issue though because with how I have the decisions set up in incremented steps for the sort gate. As a result, most every cow is sorted to the commitment pen before that end point is reached. You can really set it up any way you want. I have mine set that if a cow is 8 hours past permission it lets her in the holding area no matter how full it is. Pretty much the only time it comes into play though is if the robots are down for an extended time for maintenance or something like that.
    I'm not sure if your running the latest software DR, but the newest version also includes this "Priority Milking" mode. Basically, when you put the system into this mode, everything in the barn is set so that only overdue cows have milking permission, and it will maintain this mode for about two hours. It's to help with exactly what you're talking about, so that you can get caught up.

    So a cow with milking permission, but not overdue, will not get milked in the robot, freeing up time for an overdue cow to get milked for the duration.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkatron View Post
    I'm not sure if your running the latest software DR, but the newest version also includes this "Priority Milking" mode. Basically, when you put the system into this mode, everything in the barn is set so that only overdue cows have milking permission, and it will maintain this mode for about two hours. It's to help with exactly what you're talking about, so that you can get caught up.

    So a cow with milking permission, but not overdue, will not get milked in the robot, freeing up time for an overdue cow to get milked for the duration.
    I got a button that goes off at 2:30am to tell me to priority milk It is my alarm and if that one don;t work my wife gives me a swift kick int he azz.

    I heard that DF got one that speaks norg to get him going but he is lazy his doesn't start as early as mine!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrthe original View Post
    I got a button that goes off at 2:30am to tell me to priority milk It is my alarm and if that one don;t work my wife gives me a swift kick int he azz.

    I heard that DF got one that speaks norg to get him going but he is lazy his doesn't start as early as mine!
    Ya der JR, Evelan donut whisper sweet Norwegians into ma ear until 5:00 AM. But den eyes donut half ta go ta bed at 6 PM eat er, like dat der hoser, errr eyes mean dat der Hoosier.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dairyfarmmn View Post
    Ya der JR, Evelan donut whisper sweet Norwegians into ma ear until 5:00 AM. But den eyes donut half ta go ta bed at 6 PM eat er, like dat der hoser, errr eyes mean dat der Hoosier.
    YA! wize da Hoosier gats dem lites fer anyveyes?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWSF View Post
    Thanks for the input it seems like things are going very well in your set-up
    I did a little google and found the research it on Milkproduction.com, very interresting... Looks to me like all the robots have some things they really excel in and they all have some they could improve.

    We set our Lely to double brush which takes a little longer but I think we gain it back in the milk speed as well as have a better teat prep. Lely has also added some features since the a3 (in the study) to speed up the milking such as vacuum and pulsation depends on milk speed. (I'm sure Delaval has added new features also)

    Boils down to an excellent dealer and farm manager to make things really click.
    I think you hit the nail on the head right there. They all have their pros and cons. The most important thing is for each producer to figure out which pros and cons they want to work with. At the end of the day, the guy running the machines is what makes or breaks them, as with most other things on a dairy it all comes down to management. Running the brushes more, as you are doing, should have the same effect, roughly, in terms of stimulation as the teat cup. Like you said, you probably make it up with milkou speeds.

    Quote Originally Posted by milkatron View Post
    I'm not sure if your running the latest software DR, but the newest version also includes this "Priority Milking" mode. Basically, when you put the system into this mode, everything in the barn is set so that only overdue cows have milking permission, and it will maintain this mode for about two hours. It's to help with exactly what you're talking about, so that you can get caught up.

    So a cow with milking permission, but not overdue, will not get milked in the robot, freeing up time for an overdue cow to get milked for the duration.
    Not sure... I've got 2011 version. The priority thing sounds nice, but I am getting by just fine without it. My sort gates are set up with enough decisions that it pretty much happens that same way anyway.
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWSF View Post
    Lely has also added some features since the a3 (in the study) to speed up the milking such as vacuum and pulsation depends on milk speed. (I'm sure Delaval has added new features also)
    Sidenote:
    The VMS doesn't have this adjustable vacuum and pulsation on milk speed, but Delaval had the Duovac system way back in the 1980s. They still have it as an option on their tie-stall units, and it's a retro-fit option for parlours. But for the most part people have moved away from that as the current theory with milking is that you want to milk them fast, so we crank the vacuum up a little more and make sure we do a good prep so that she lets her milk down right away and take the unit off at a higher flow rate.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkatron View Post
    Sidenote:
    The VMS doesn't have this adjustable vacuum and pulsation on milk speed, but Delaval had the Duovac system way back in the 1980s. They still have it as an option on their tie-stall units, and it's a retro-fit option for parlours. But for the most part people have moved away from that as the current theory with milking is that you want to milk them fast, so we crank the vacuum up a little more and make sure we do a good prep so that she lets her milk down right away and take the unit off at a higher flow rate.
    The thought behiind the increased vacuum with faster milk speeds is to keep the teat end vacuum the same (as opposed to dropping with high milk flow). We are not trying to crank the vacuum at the teat end, just trying to keep it consistant throughout the whole milking. Also the adjustable quarter pulsation is based on a per quarter milk speed as not every quarter milks at the same speed so it is a little different then the way it had been in the tie-stall barn.

  9. #29
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    Milkatron, the new VMS touchscreen version/update is being sent out in the US sometime in the next two months. We got a preview of it today at the VMS PRO session but won't have it until then. I did get to hang out with some great VMS users though and talk to the top VMS herd owner/manager. I've met him already, but he wasn't the top until after last year's session. over 6800 lbs on one robot and he's averaging over 6500 lbs per robot with 4 robots. Not to shabby. I'm not quite there... yet...
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  10. #30
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    We are going with a VMS and free flow setup this year from Norwell in Brinston. I'm a hardware guy and my opinion is VMS was running standard hardware/meters/pulsators that you see on all Delaval parlors - making the most "technical" thing to worry about just the arm itself. They update all their VMS's , so theres no VMS 1, 2, 3 etc everyone runs the same box. Also I liked the fact that if something does go wrong (with hardware or teaching a new animal) you can manually still attach the teat cups and still milk.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by phishstik View Post
    We are going with a VMS and free flow setup this year from Norwell in Brinston. I'm a hardware guy and my opinion is VMS was running standard hardware/meters/pulsators that you see on all Delaval parlors - making the most "technical" thing to worry about just the arm itself. They update all their VMS's , so theres no VMS 1, 2, 3 etc everyone runs the same box. Also I liked the fact that if something does go wrong (with hardware or teaching a new animal) you can manually still attach the teat cups and still milk.
    That feature is also nice if you like to do a lot of your own maintenance. You attach the cow and work on something, it really keeps the flow going so there isn't much down time for regular stuff.

    RWSF, with your Lely you have butterfly valving correct?
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdiederich View Post
    Milkatron, the new VMS touchscreen version/update is being sent out in the US sometime in the next two months. We got a preview of it today at the VMS PRO session but won't have it until then. I did get to hang out with some great VMS users though and talk to the top VMS herd owner/manager. I've met him already, but he wasn't the top until after last year's session. over 6800 lbs on one robot and he's averaging over 6500 lbs per robot with 4 robots. Not to shabby. I'm not quite there... yet...
    6800 (3084) is a lot! Having said that, you and I both know that DIM and pushing, among other things are all factors. But that's still really good.



    I don't think Lely uses Butterfly valving anymore, from what I've seen. But I did notice they don't have any sensors on their milk tank valves to confirm what position their in. Maybe over there in the US they do, but I sure didn't see any at the farm I was visited.

  13. #33
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    We have the butterfly valves on the milk tank but not on the a4 robot. All of the milk valves and water valves have sensors here and are checked by the milk inspector annually.

    6500#/ robot average is great. I wonder on a farm like that what impact adding another robot with the same # of cows would have.... Would there be less fetch cows, increase milk production and feed efficiency,less labor, more milkings per cow ect. enough to justify putting in another one?

  14. #34
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    He is directed, milk first traffic and doesn't fetch anything but new heifers that are learning the sytem. Pretty much the same story as me, but reverse direction as I am feed first. He's milking 245-250 cows in 4 robots, averaging over 100 lbs/cow. He's been as high as 110/cow with the robots. Really a top class dairyman. I'm not pointing it out to say anything Lely V DeLaval but making it clear to anyone reading that you can get TOP NOTCH performance out of herd with robots, and still get the efficiencies as well out of the robot.

    I thought they used to use them, that was why I asked. I figured they switched to the CIP approved disc style ones that don't require all the maintenance. The sensor thing is US PMO required, everyone has to have them, doesn't matter the brand... what a freaking pain for inspecting though. They can come in and demand any sensor simulate failing and watch what all the others valves/sensors do. Don't bother arguing or they'll just take longer

    RWSF, how long have you had yours? Did you build a new barn or retro them in?
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  15. #35
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    The a3 next was retrofitted in 2010 and the a4 was put in a new addition install 10 months ago. Half of the freestalls are in the old barn and connected to that is the new barn with feeding and freestalls. Works ok for us.

    Eventually as we optomize our robot and start maxing out robot time we will weed out the less efficient cows to replace with multiple more efficient heifers. For example...
    I have a cow that gave 51# milk in her last milking in 5minutes 30 seconds total boxtime including prep. I also have one that gave 34# in 14 minutes 25 sec. of total boxtime. If I get rid of the cows like the second one and I could replace her with 2 or 3 cows like the first one think how much better on my bottom line . Robot looks better but not because of the robot just because of the cows, genetics, and managment.

    I tend to think that with robots I can get better performance out of most of my cows then I could in a parlor setting. More and better data, able to adjust feeding and milkings on each cow and quicker indication if one is sick.

  16. #36
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    I agree, some great points you have there. The focus on creating the right cows for robots... you know the kind... the ones that stand still, milk out fast, have decent udders, and a drive to be active-non-lazy cows will really create a lot of efficiencies. It's kind of funny as I talk to breeding companies about what we need from "robot style" cows... I always conclude with the comment "you know, the kind everyone should be focusing on, yet for some reason we still don't have." Those same type of cows would be better for every farm, but in parlor herds we just manage them and work with them and force them to be what we want instead of breeding that away or culling them out.
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

  17. #37
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    Hey everyone, just joined a few days ago and just found this thread. Thought I'd add some input to the "free" vs "guided" traffic debate. I've been running 2 A4 Lelys since November 2011, my barn has four rows of head to head stalls on one side of the feedbunk, robots are at the end of the pen. Have had up to 125 cows in barn, currently around 115. Production 35L at 4% fat. Barn is free traffic, a couple months after moving in we were consistently getting 3.5 milkings per cow, now that the cows have settled in if my milkings per cow gets under 3.3 per day I start looking for a cause. The A4 cow flow is a great design - a refusal for a cow only takes a couple of seconds - I think it is a big advantage over a VMS or older Lely stalls.

    When building my feed guy told me he was very concerned I was making a bad decision to go with free traffic - I told him I'd rather fetch a few cows than try to force them to wait for beds or feed. The way it turned out he apologized a few months later - admitted I made the correct decision, as my cows are content and things work really well in my barn.

    Funny thing is - although I was prepared to fetch a few cows I don't have to. We go for weeks at a time without fetching a single cow if no new heifers, if one shows up on my list at 12 or 13 hours and she isn't late lactation she is telling me to check her feet or she has some other problem - some real late lactation cows might go 13 or 15 hours between milkings every once in a while but if they are only producing 22L and are due to go dry in two weeks I don't see that as an issue. We usually only have a few new heifers that need fetching for a couple of days to a week fresh and we perform the task while cleaning stalls so it doesn't really take any extra time out of the day.

    In my experience free traffic has been a good decision. Glad I never spent the money on gates and tag readers because I don't see how forcing cows could work any better than my system does.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie nw ON View Post
    Hey everyone, just joined a few days ago and just found this thread. Thought I'd add some input to the "free" vs "guided" traffic debate. I've been running 2 A4 Lelys since November 2011, my barn has four rows of head to head stalls on one side of the feedbunk, robots are at the end of the pen. Have had up to 125 cows in barn, currently around 115. Production 35L at 4% fat. Barn is free traffic, a couple months after moving in we were consistently getting 3.5 milkings per cow, now that the cows have settled in if my milkings per cow gets under 3.3 per day I start looking for a cause. The A4 cow flow is a great design - a refusal for a cow only takes a couple of seconds - I think it is a big advantage over a VMS or older Lely stalls.

    When building my feed guy told me he was very concerned I was making a bad decision to go with free traffic - I told him I'd rather fetch a few cows than try to force them to wait for beds or feed. The way it turned out he apologized a few months later - admitted I made the correct decision, as my cows are content and things work really well in my barn.

    Funny thing is - although I was prepared to fetch a few cows I don't have to. We go for weeks at a time without fetching a single cow if no new heifers, if one shows up on my list at 12 or 13 hours and she isn't late lactation she is telling me to check her feet or she has some other problem - some real late lactation cows might go 13 or 15 hours between milkings every once in a while but if they are only producing 22L and are due to go dry in two weeks I don't see that as an issue. We usually only have a few new heifers that need fetching for a couple of days to a week fresh and we perform the task while cleaning stalls so it doesn't really take any extra time out of the day.

    In my experience free traffic has been a good decision. Glad I never spent the money on gates and tag readers because I don't see how forcing cows could work any better than my system does.
    Even if someone has guided traffic, once the system is up and running, they rarely have to fetch cows too, just like you described. Where the sort gates come in is that you're ensuring that all the cows that enter the robot will be milked, with no refusals. I've never seen the flow in and out of the VMS to be an issue, the cow has to turn somewhere, it's either at the robot, or turns to get into the commitment lane. I've also seen A4s with an angled alley coming out of them so that even if it's a straight exit out of the robot, they still have to turn to leave the area.

    Do you have the electric shocker installed on your robot to shoo the robots out of the stall?

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by milkatron View Post
    Even if someone has guided traffic, once the system is up and running, they rarely have to fetch cows too, just like you described. Where the sort gates come in is that you're ensuring that all the cows that enter the robot will be milked, with no refusals. I've never seen the flow in and out of the VMS to be an issue, the cow has to turn somewhere, it's either at the robot, or turns to get into the commitment lane. I've also seen A4s with an angled alley coming out of them so that even if it's a straight exit out of the robot, they still have to turn to leave the area.

    Do you have the electric shocker installed on your robot to shoo the robots out of the stall?
    My stalls have the shocker, set at 15 seconds if I remember correctly. It is one of those things that hardly ever gets used but when the odd cow decides to get lazy it moves things along. We also run footbaths on the robot exit a few days a week, the shocker keeps cows who are reluctant to go through the baths from tying up the robot.

    I guess things are a bunch different with A4s than the Delaval VMS - we have never thought of wanting to limit refusals, with the feedbowl swinging away from the cow on exit there is really no reason fro her to stay in the robot stall and they rarely take more than 5 or 7 seconds for a refusal. I was told at startup that a lot of refusals is a good thing as cows learn to follow each other into the robot - when we were training the whole herd there was a few weeks the average cow was getting 7 or 8 refusals per day, I have had individual cows when the 'light comes on' and they figure out how the robot works get over 30 or 40 refusals per day for a couple of days. Currently getting 1.2 refusals per cow, Lely recommends a minimum of 1 refusal per cow on average is a number to shoot for.

    Do refusals take a bunch of time with the VMS? Is there a lot of extra milkings to be gained by eliminating refusals in guided systems?

  20. #40
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    If every refusal averages 7 seconds and you have 1 refusal per cow and 60 cows per pen that equates to 420 seconds of refusal time... or 7 minutes per day, which is another milking that is now possible. If you have 3 robots you can milk an extra cow. If you have 1.2 refusals per cow and 60 cows that is 504 seconds of refusal time which is even more time. Is it a lot? Nope, but it adds up over time. If you are on the higher end of refusals at 5 that is about 5 extra milkings per day per robot that you could get per robot. Obviously more refusals would be even more. Such is the theory with guided traffic. Is it applicable to every farm or every setup... probably not. However, I like having directed traffic. Of course, I have never had free flow, so I can't make a personal comparison. In my next barn I plan to have two free flow and two milk first directed pens. Then I will have all three styles and will know what works the best for my management style and barns. I think the free flow would be better for the really early lactation cows/heifers (more heifers or purchased cows) as it is one less thing for them to learn when beginning their lactation. I can see with the A4 how if you are free flow the way it is setup would better help move those refusals on their way as the feed dish isn't there for them to look at anymore.

    The other thing, and a huge one in my opinion, that the directed traffic allows is to feed much less grain in the robot. I feed <4 lbs per cow per day. With that low amount I can feed less expensive grain in the robot (like just feeding straight citrus pellets or beet pulp pellets) or less of a more expensive custom pellet, and maintain a "normal" TMR.

    For myself, I don't care how many milkings per cow I average per day... it's all about milk per cow and milk per stall as that is what pays the bills, not milking per cow. I have cows that average 1.25-1.5 milkings per day and that is all I want them to have as they don't milk enough to make it worthwhile for them to enter the stall. While I have others that milk >190 lbs per day milking 5 times a day.

    Really, a lot of it comes down to how you want to manage the herd.

    As for the shocker, I don't like them. I think it makes dairy look bad and it's things like that activist groups get a hold of that makes the industry look bad. There are other things that could be done to achieve the same ends and that is where Lely, DeLaval and the others need to look to, not shockers.
    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

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